The Cuba case study

Gridless solutions for improved climate adaptation and resilience

The goal is to explore the opportunities for testing and deploying gridless solutions in water, sanitation and energy in Cuba by:

  • assessing technology needs and matching these with existing solutions; 
  • exploring potential management and business models to finance, implement and scale gridless solutions; and 
  • making an inventory of required and existing capacities for implementation and maintenance.

Although Cuba stands out as an example of disaster mitigation in the region, long-term adaptation will be fundamental to meet the challenges from climate change. Climate change is already impacting air temperature, periods of droughts, the rise of the average sea level, and the intensification of extreme weather events. 

Grid-based infrastructures in disaster-prone countries such as Cuba will become increasingly problematic due to the fact that:

  1. Impacts from multiple or cascading hazards are expected to grow due to an increase in the frequency and intensity of hydrometeorological hazards.
  2. Increased dependency and vulnerability on critical infrastructure. Disturbances at a single point, e.g. a crucial node or connector – can lead to service disruption or breakdown throughout the network.

Disruption on one network can in turn cause cascading effects upon other services. Thus, the large power networks that may have proved efficient and secure in the past, are now at the center of discussion fueling the need for decentralization and diversification of water and energy grids that better withstand disasters. As these technologies are becoming significantly cheaper, gridless solutions may have the potential in terms of improving disaster risk management as they could contribute to building resilience by enhancing the ability of an infrastructure to perform during and after a hazard. 

sWASH&grow, in collaboration with SEI’s Gridless Initiative is exploring whether and under what circumstances gridless solutions would be beneficial.